During this COVID-19 pandemic, another pandemic which was already ravaging the world is quietly growing even stronger. It’s the pandemic of pornography. The pornography industry is taking advantage of our current lockdowns by trolling for as many new addicts as they can find. Offering free subscriptions, they know thousands upon thousands of men of all ages—meaning boys, too—are at home with far more time than they’re used to having.

One Pandemic Feeding Another

We now have one pandemic feeding the other. The Internet is full of pornographic sites, with trafficking victims regularly forced into the creation of the videos. Besides the women victimized in pornography, dozens of research studies have shown the correlation between porn use and divorce, prostitution, depression, and even child molestation and rape. Porn use literally rewires the brain, with heart-wrenching consequences for young men, their view of women and relationships, and their chances for a healthy marriage. Research shows that a majority of divorces now have pornography as a significant factor, and that pornography rewires the brains of boys so that they come to view women and sex in a completely different and negative way. There’s no benefit, except maybe the profit raked in by the purveyors of the filth. 

It’s hard enough for men and boys to be vigilant in the home or office. Now some of the biggest porn sites are luring in more users by offering free service during the lockdown. After first offering their services for free in Italy, France, and Spain, Pornhub is now offering this “gift” to those quarantined at home in the U.S. as well. Another porn site offered free service to passengers quarantined on a cruise ship. Too many are now succumbing to this “free gift” without realizing the underlying cost: the powerful addiction pornography viewing brings. When those who take up these offers get back to their routine at the office and have far less time, they’ll find themselves still reverting to porn. When their relationships are affected, when they find themselves seeking out harder-core material, when they realize they’re sinning and don’t like how they’ve changed, they very well may find themselves wanting to quit but be unable to do so.

We have heard that relapses of drug and alcohol addictions are spiking during the virus. Those who have courageously fought and won the porn battle are also at risk. There are many men who hate what porn did to their lives and who have challenged themselves to get rid of this ball-and-chain addiction, often through a combination of spiritual guidance and psychological therapy. A number of prominent men have come forward with their testimony of conquering the porn battle to say it was as powerful as a drug and just as hard to quit. Research backs that up. 

There is Help

Fortunately, multiple organizations are working to help people fight addiction to porn. One example is XXXchurch, a non-profit that’s opened up its phone lines and email for anyone needing support against porn. “We really want to make sure that people know they’re not alone, because oftentimes, when you feel worried or you’re afraid, when you don’t know what the future has in store, you want to isolate and figure it out on your own,” said Brittni De La Mora, a former porn worker who now leads XXXchurch.

“When you’re in those moments of high anxiety, you have to remind yourself that you’re not in control,” De La Mora explained. “Oftentimes, when you have high levels of anxiety, it’s because there’s something in your life that isn’t surrendered. So whether it’s those thoughts of fear, those thoughts of worry, you have to remind yourself: ‘I’m not in control. God is in control, and He’s a good God. So whatever He has for my life, He’s gonna work it together for good.’”

When anxiety sparks temptation to turn to pornography, the XXXchurch leader said it’s critical to shift instead to worship, prayer, and Scripture, “because when you attract God’s presence, you’re attracting the God of comfort, you’re attracting the God of peace, you’re attracting the God of love.”

Protect Yourself!

Do everything you can to stay away from pornography and keep it away from the boys and men you love. Stay busy. Go for a walk, barbeque, garden, look at old photo albums and home videos, take virtual music lessons, clean out the garage. If you or your loved ones are gravitating toward a screen during all the hours at home now, one suggestion is checking out the newly available virtual tours of hundreds of National Parks, historic sites, gardens, and castles around the world. Museums have now made much of their collections available for virtual tours, from the Vatican to the Smithsonian, and now many Broadway plays,and operas are live streamed too. Whatever it takes, protect yourself from the pandemic of porn.